Venice Travel Guide

Venice Travel Guide

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If you followed along on my recent trip to Europe, after we left Paris (read my guide here!) we landed in Venice. But, before I get into all the juicy details on our 3-day stay let’s talk about what I talk about best: outfits. How gorgeous is this taupe maxi/midi skirt from Chicwish? I was a little hesitant when I had it sent to me (shorts girls and maxi lengths don’t always mix) but I completely fell in love! I knew right away that this skirt had to come with me to Europe. I even planned in advance what city I was going to where it in and I’m so glad I picked Venice. The entire look contrasted so well with the aged buildings and romantic canals. Plus, the weather was perfect for this outfit. A little hot, but not hot enough that the skirt would stick to me.

I kept the look simple and went with my go-to white cami and threw on some sandals. I definitely think this skirt would look so cute with heels (and they would give me some much needed height), but heels were not going to cut it in a city full of stairs and bridges.  To top the look off I wore some dainty gold coin necklaces that I’ve been loving lately.

But enough about my outfit, let’s get into all you need to know if you’re planning to visit Venice!

Warning: this was my first time in Venice, so this guide is also aimed at people who have never been before. If you’ve already been to Venice then this might not be the guide for you.

What You Need to Know Before Arriving

Venice is an island and the airport isn’t on it… So, once you arrive you’re going to have to figure out the best way to get from the airport to the island. And depending on where your hotel is, you might now be going to the main island. Luckily, there are people down by the docks who can help you figure out the best way to travel. The most affordable option is a public water taxi. We did this but be warned: it takes forever. We were on it for over an hour and half (use the bathroom beforehand!). A more convenient/more expensive option is a private water taxi. They move a lot faster but will cost a lot more.

Another thing you need to know: Venice is an expensive city. Comparing the prices in Venice to Florence, we spent a lot more. Just keep that in mind when visiting! The good thing is that it isn’t a very big city so you don’t need to spend a lot of time there. You could definitely do everything in two days.

Where to Stay

Like in Paris, we stayed in a nicer hotel than I would’ve picked if I was traveling without them. We stayed at the JW Marriott which was 1. a beautiful hotel and 2. on its own island! We had to take a ferry each morning into Venice and then at night to get back to our hotel. If you want a luxury experience while visiting Venice this hotel is a must.

Obviously I can’t recommend any other hotels because I’ve only stayed at the one, but there were quite a few in Venice itself and they opened up onto canals which would be so pretty!

Main Attractions

Venice is a pretty small city (about 3 miles long), but there are still some sites you need to see:

  • St. Mark’s Square (let the pigeons land on your arms. It’s such a weird experience but something I’ll never forget)
  • St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Doge’s palace
  • Rialto Bridge
  • Gondola ride (pricey but worth it in my opinion)
  • Rooftop view of Venice at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi department store (book in advance, we didn’t know you had to and ended up not doing this)
  • Gallerie dell’Accademia (I didn’t actually see this, but I’ve heard it’s a great art museum)

Island Hopping

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Like I said before, Venice is incredibly small so you definitely have enough time to do some island hopping! When we came in on our morning ferry from the hotel, a man who works for the city council of Venice was handing out free tickets to tour the glass-making factory on Murano. My parents wanted to see the blown glass so we were sold! We took a little shuttle over to Murano and toured the factory and showroom. Aside from that though, there’s not much else to see on this island, but the factory taxied us over to another island, Burano.

Burano is GORGEOUS! As you can see from the pictures above, the entire island is full of colorful little houses along canals. It felt like something out of a movie. And, the island is known for its lace-making. I bought a beautiful white, cotton, lace dress (check it out on Instagram) that I adore. They also make other items like table cloths, and the most adorable baby clothes!

In total, we spent about half a day on both islands and then went back to Venice for an afternoon drink and then dinner.

Where to Eat

In complete transparency, Venice didn’t have the greatest food. But, I still have a few recommendations. Something Venice is known for is cicchetti. Around 6pm Venetians like to start bar-hopping and ordering different cicchetti which are little appetizers. Usually they have their cicchetti with a small glass of white wine. If there’s one place I recommend it’s Do Spade, a bar that’s really close to the Rialto Bridge and has great cicchetti! We started at a different one and ended up here, apparently it’s popular with Venetian locals too. I definitely recommend coming early though if you want a seat!

Another recommendation, solely for the experience, is Caffe Florian. It’s extremely pricey for a breakfast spot, but it’s the most famous coffee spot in Venice. I will say, we ate outside and were charged an extra €6 per person for the music… Maybe we should’ve ate inside?

Otherwise, I would definitely recommend looking for less touristy spots to eat. Not only do I think the food will be better, but you’ll probably be paying a lot less. Oh, and I wanted to try Baci & Pasta for lunch, but we never made. I’ve heard great things and a meal should only cost around €7-10!

 

So, that’s all I have for my Venice travel guide. If you have any other recommendations, please let me know in the comments below!

xo,

Carey

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New Orleans Travel Guide + The Perfect Travel Outfit

New Orleans Travel Guide + The Perfect Travel Outfit

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I can’t believe spring break is over and I’m back at school *sigh*. But while I’m no longer living it up in New Orleans, I thought I could pretend I’m there a little longer with this travel guide. But before I get into the nitty gritty about what to do, where to stay, etc. I wanted to share this look I wore to the airport on my flight back.

I woke up at 4:45 am to get to the airport in time, so comfort was key that morning. And I don’t know about you, but I’m always so cold on flights. So, with that being said, of course I packed the comfiest joggers I have ever worn. My mom actually found these and liked them so much she went back to buy herself another pair and pick up a pair for me. They literally feel like pajamas. I kept the look simple and neutral with a white bralette and cami. I paired it off with my denim jacket (again I get cold) and the shoes you’re all probably tired of seeing me wear—I really need to find something as comfortable and versatile as these.

All around, it was the perfect outfit to travel: comfy, cute, and versatile. And now that the outfit is out of the way, let’s get into my travel guide!

Where to Stay

I went with my roommate, her mom, and her mom’s friend and we stayed at the Homewood Suites on Rampart Street. We all really liked this location because it was close enough to everything in the French Quarter without being in the middle (i.e. no noise!).

If you’re looking for something fancier, Hotel Monteleone seems like a great choice. We went in to see the carousel bar and stayed to walk around and look at the opulent decor. It’s right in the French Quarter and literary greats like Truman Capote, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway have all patronized the hotel. There’s even some rumor of some hauntings if you’re interested in that!

Another cool hotel we saw was the Cornstalk Fence Hotel. It’s a boutique, luxury hotel, and while we didn’t actually go inside like we did with Hotel Monteleone, it’s gorgeous from the outside. Like Hotel Monteleone, it has some famous guests as well as haunting rumors.

Where to Eat

Dinner—we really only had a “real” dinner twice (we filled up during the day on lunch/snacks!), but we did enjoy two restaurants.

  • Nola Cantina: they had fantastic tacos and margaritas
  • Emeril’s NOLA: we all enjoyed our dinner, but the service was subpar

Brunch—we went to brunch twice at the same place (different locations though) because we loved it soooo much. If you’re in the French Quarter or uptown NOLA definitely check out Toast.

Sweets—with all the walking we did, we justified our sweet tooth. Definitely check out these two places!

  • Cafe du Monde: I don’t think you can say you went to New Orleans if you don’t go here. All I can say is beignets are amazing. 
  • Sucre: if you like macarons the ones at Sucre are so good! They also have gelato, desserts, plus a restaurant for dinner or brunch.

What to Do

  • Tours: my roommate and I booked both a ghost and a vampire tour through Haunted History Tours and we LOVED them! Next time I go to New Orleans, I want to check out the company’s cemetery tour and the haunted pub crawl. The tour guides obviously love what they do, and if you’re interested in history and the macabre like I am, they’re so knowledgeable. Definitely my favorite part of the trip. We also went on a city tour throughout all of New Orleans which is a good idea if you want to get a bigger picture of the city aside from the French Quarter.
  • Ferry ride: although we ended up not going on the jazz cruise, we took the Algiers Point Ferry on a sunny day and walked around Algiers Point. It’s a cute neighborhood that’s fun for looking at houses. Plus the ferry was only $2 each!
  • Walk around: honestly, one of the best things to do is grab a drink (you can walk around with them!) and stroll through the French Quarter. We ended up finding the cutest mask shop on Royal Street, plus a vampire boutique that resulted in us getting invited to a vampire speakeasy! Such a fun experience.
  • Shop on Magazine Street: if you’re a shopper—and if you’re reading this blog I’m guessing you are—Magazine Street is the place to be. There are so many cute boutiques and when you get tired of shopping you can stop at Sucre’s other location on this street.
  • Visit the Garden District: while shopping on Magazine Street, definitely make time to go sight-seeing in the Garden District. The houses are absolutely gorgeous and you might even spot a celebrity!
  • Listen to live jazz on Frenchmen Street: my roommate and I went to Frenchmen Street our last night to get dinner and listen to live jazz. The band that was playing was so talented and the vibe was just really fun. We didn’t make it to a jazz club, but I hear they’re great too!
  • Jazz concert at Preservation Hall: Jenna (my roommate) and I are so upset that we didn’t make it to a jazz concert. The one we were planning to go to was cancelled and we couldn’t make the later one because we had a tour booked. But the reviews say this is possibly the most fun part of anyone’s trip to NOLA, so I am planning to go in the future.
  • City Park: if you want to get away from the French Quarter/city life, check out City Park! It has everything—mini golf, an amusement park, bike riding, boating, restaurants, an art museum, a botanical garden, and more! We went mini golfing and then had lunch in the museum’s cafe where we had the best salad I think I’ve ever had. You could spend multiple days at City Park alone.

So there you have it, my complete New Orleans travel guide. If you liked this post, let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to check out my London travel guide here.

xo,

Carey

Cami | Joggers | Similar Jacket | Shoes | Watch | Similar Bag | Lipstick in “Satin Ribbon”

London Travel Guide

London Travel Guide
I’ve been back from my semester abroad in London for awhile now, and thought I should share with you all some of my favorite places/things to do in London. Living in the city is definitely one of the best things I’ve ever experienced and I can’t wait to go back!

Where to Stay

Because my experience was through my school, I obviously didn’t spend the whole four months in a Hotel. I was placed in a renovated townhouse in South Kensington. While the neighborhood sounds fancy, I shared a room (a single room) with three other girls. With that being said I do have some recommendations.

The Park Tower Knightsbridge. When my mom came to visit this is where she stayed and I jumped at the opportunity to ditch my bunk bed to stay with her. The location was great because it was one tube stop away from my dorm room, but is also only a few feet away from Harrod’s and the tube (underground) station.

The Kensington. I didn’t actually even go into this hotel, but it was on the same block as the townhouse I stayed in and looked sooo nice! It’s definitely a smaller hotel, but still luxurious. I would love to stay there the next time I visit.

Where to Eat

Dumplings Legend. If you’re a fan of soup dumplings, then this restaurant right in the middle of Chinatown (Soho) is a must! My friend and I went for her 21st birthday and it was sooo good. They even have glass windows so you can see the restaurant making the dumplings.

Franco Manca. By far the BEST pizza I’ve ever had. This place is a must — gourmet pizza made on sourdough bread at extremely low prices. If my roommate and I ever wanted to go out and treat ourselves without spending a lot of money, this was the place to go. There are multiple locations in London, but the one in South Kensington was less than a block from our housing.

Tayyabs. If you love Indian food, this was my absolute favorite place. My professor brought our entire class here for a late lunch and it was amazing. The restaurant is located White Chapel, and serves more of a Pakistani cuisine, which was completely new to me. We ended up trying a little bit of everything and that’s definitely the way to go!

Zetland Arms. I’m saying Zetland Arms because that’s the pub I went to most frequently, but really any pub will do. Everyone assumes fish and chips are the go-to pub fare, but I am obsessed with Britain’s pies. Make sure to try the steak and ale pie, it’s probably my favorite thing to eat in the UK.

La Bottega. This is another South Kensington find — the cutest Italian deli. I went there all the time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The staff are the sweetest and definitely remember their regulars! It’s a super casual place, and even works as a coffee shop to bring your laptop to.

Sweets Treats

If you know me, then you know I have a major sweet tooth, especially if it’s chocolate! Here are some great places to try if you’re craving dessert.

Hummingbird Bakery. My favorite cupcake shop in London! They have multiple locations, one in South Kensington of course, but also one on Portobello Road, for those who are headed that way. I recommend the black bottom cupcake.

Aux Merveilleux. This is a little French bakery again in South Kensington that sells these little desserts called merveilleux. They’re hard to explain, but definitely nice to try. But the main reason I love this place is the brioche buns. THEY. ARE. DELICIOUS.

Peggy Porschen. This is probably the most instagrammable place in London. You may recognize the all-pink building overflowing with cuteness. It’s definitely a place to take a cute pic, but I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with their cupcakes. To be fair, I spent an hour waiting outside in the rain (I forgot mis y umbrella) and because I looked like a drowned rat, I didn’t even get my picture, so I was a little salty…

Sketch. I lied above. Sketch has to be the most instagrammable place in London (especially the bathroom!). If you want to treat yourself to an extravagant afternoon tea, this is the place to go. Warning: it’s a little pricey and you definitely need reservations.

The Secret Tea Room. An alternative to Sketch’s expensive tea service is the secret tea room in Soho. This place is actually hidden. We walked around lost for 15 minutes until realizing you had to go into a pub and be directed to the upstairs. I actually opted for cream tea instead of afternoon tea and I wasn’t disappointed!

Things to Do

Albert and Victoria. By far the coolest museum I saw in London. It’s an eclectic mix of art, fashion, furniture, and really just anything you can think of!

Hyde Park. Since this park was so close to where I lived, I was there all the time. It’s especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change color. Go here if you want to take a scenic walk (walk through on your way to Kensington Palace!), go for a run, or sit by the pond and watch the swans (did you know the Queen owns all the swans in England? #funfact).

Palace Tours. I went on tours of both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace. While they weren’t the best palace tours I’ve been on, it was definitely cool to see these historic buildings. Compared to the tours I’ve gone on in other palaces (Versailles, the Palace of Madrid), these tours felt pricey and not very informative if I’m being completely honest.

Portobello Street. You have to walk down Portobello Street in Notting Hill. This street is full of vintage stores and cute boutiques, and has a really great food market at the end!

Harrod’s. Probably the most touristy place to visit, Harrod’s still remains a must-see. If nothing else, treat yourself to tea in the Harrod’s restaurant or the Laduree store inside. I also enjoyed the toy section, and the food market makes a great place to buy souvenirs for friends (Harrod’s tea and biscuits!).

Brick Lane. Another eclectic street to walk down. If you’re into vintage clothes and records, as well as artisan products, all within a funky neighborhood, this is the place to go.

Old Spitalfields Market and Canal Street Market. Markets are clearly a thing in London. Old Spitalfields has a really trendy vibe, with good food and cocktails, as well as some mainstream shopping (MAC, Lululemon). Canal street is actually located right by canals which makes it gorgeous to visit during the day. It’s known for having really great street food and fun/vintagey stalls to buy from.

Selfridge’s Rooftop Bar. If you want to get a drink in the most luxurious setting, go to the rooftop bar in Selfridge’s. I went during Christmas time and the outdoor bar featured little cozy nooks with fires and blankets for all of the guests. The restaurant was also really good!

Shopping

I’m just going to share some great shopping areas in a list for both mainstream/high end stores. But I will say this: the Topshop located on Oxford Street is ah-mazing. It’s four or five floors and just the coolest shopping experience. But whatever you do, don’t go on a Saturday.

  • Oxford Street
  • Carnaby Street
  • High Street Kensington
  • Old Spitalfields market
  • Covent Garden

Things I Wish I Did

Even with all of the time I spent in London, there are a few things left on my list that I really wish I had gotten around to. I really wanted to go on the London Eye, but for some reason just never did. I’ve heard it’s not that great, but still — it’s iconic! I also am so upset I forgot to sign up for the Jack the Ripper tour. I find that story so fascinating and want to learn more. Last but not least, I really wish I went for afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton. It sounds like a great excuse to dress up and indulge!

And that’s my complete guide! I hope you all enjoy and let me know if you’ve been to any of these places/are planning to in the comments below!

xo,

Carey